Perth-based Wesfarmers Ltd is Australia's most admired company, and its MD Michael Chaney is the country's most admired business leader, according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and BRW.

Currently in its fourth year, the Australia's Most Admired Companies survey quizzes the CEOs and CFOs from the country's leading firms to identify the most respected businesses.

Looking at the reasons why the winners were selected, BRW managing editor Neil Shoebridge commented: "An enormous 78% of business leaders surveyed ranked a company's ability to recruit, develop and retain talented people as the most important attribute in conducting business today.

"Increasingly, quality people are driving business success."

The winners of this year's survey were remarkably different to those selected last year. Westfarmers took the title from Macquarie Bank and supermarket giant Woolworths Ltd.